Tax planning you can do now to save money later
Americans may hate the annual tax-filing season, but they certainly welcome the refunds that are issued each year. That's not surprising. The IRS reports that most taxpayers do get money back each year when they file their returns. What is surprising is that this phenomenon continues, despite the best efforts of tax and financial advisers to teach the public more efficient money management skills. Is a tax refund an interest-free loan to the government or a welcome windfall?How to e-file your tax return
You've decided it's finally time to take that big technological tax step. This year, you're e-filing. There are a variety of ways to electronically submit your return. Here's a look at your e-file options.Haven't Filed Taxes in a Few Years? Here's How to Get Started
Are you years behind is filing taxes? The first thing you need to do is determine when you last filed a tax return. Start from there and organize whatever tax information you have year by year so you can get those returns filed with the IRS. You have several options once you have your information organized.
Do I owe taxes on a pain-and-suffering settlement?
"I am due to receive a settlement where the proceeds are for "pain and suffering." My attorney could not answer my question about whether any of it was taxable, other than the "lost wages" portion. Do I owe the feds anything for pain and suffering? It seems to me that this would not be counted as "income," but that is just my thinking. What does the law say?"6 Pet-Related Tax Write-Offs
Almost every pet owner will tell you that their animal is a member of the family. The IRS disagrees. That's why the taxman won't let you claim your dog, cat, guinea pig or whatever critter brightens up your life as a dependent. However, the Internal Revenue Code does allow a few instances where you can write off some pet costs.Tax planning: Tapping Mom's nest egg to help with Alzheimer's care
Looking for some advice on how the IRS would interpret a particular capital gains issue? You should consider seeking out a certified public accountant, or CPA, who can help you figure out the most tax-efficient way to get the funds you need for your mother's care.How to get disaster relief from the IRS
After people endure a disaster, taxes are probably the last thing on their minds. But tax laws do offer some help for loss victims. And victims of a presidentially declared disaster could use their tax filing to obtain much-needed cash.How to figure taxes on lump-sum annuity payout
"As the beneficiary of an insurance annuity, I received a lump sum and was informed that $87,000 of it was taxable. At what percentage rate will it be taxed?"Do I Owe Tax for Winning the Church Raffle Prize?
"I won $3,000 in a church raffle. I gave $1,000 from the prize money as a donation to the church, and I deposited the balance of $2,000 in my bank account. Are the winnings considered income that requires me to pay tax? Also, since I took $1,000 of the $3,000 and donated it to the church, am I only liable for the $2,000 that I actually put in my bank account?"
Are Settlement Proceeds Considered Taxable Income?
Settlement proceeds may or may not be deductible, depending on all the facts and circumstances in each case. In your situation, the settlement payment consists of multiple elements that have been allocated. Generally, the IRS will not question an allocation if it is consistent with the substance of the settled claims.How to Determine Taxation of Disability Benefits
"How do I determine taxation of disability benefits? I was told that if my disability was given a tax code 3 in Box 7 of my 1099, then I was not obligated to pay taxes. Is this true?"7 Ways to Get Organized for the Tax Year
Even if your tax situation isn't complicated, there's still documentation the Internal Revenue Service demands. But filing taxes doesn't have to be an ordeal. And it can be less frustrating and less time-consuming if you have all the material at your fingertips.Taxes 101: A Primer for College Students
Filing a tax return may seem even less relevant to a full-time college student's life than one of the dreadful lectures they have to endure in class. Although the deadline for filing this year has come and gone, students should consider filling out a return next year. Filing tax returns as a college student has benefits. For instance, the student may be eligible for a tax credit. In fact, if the student has worked, there may even be a sweet refund coming his or her way.Weddings, Kids, Homes: Taxes for Life's Big Events
Taxes have been a part of your life since your parents welcomed you into this world. In some cases, the involvement of the Internal Revenue Service is not such a good thing. But in many ways, the tax code can be your best friend. You just need to know how it applies to your personal circumstances so you can take advantage of it. Read on to learn more about tax breaks for life's big events.Tax Issues when Borrowing from a Family Member
"I have asked my mother whether she'd pay off my home loan. In return, I'd pay her 4.75 percent in interest as well as principal each month for the next four years. I'd rather that she get the money instead of the bank. What tax implications could this have on both ends?"The Skinny on Paying Estimated Taxes
If you have income that isn't subject to withholding taxes, then you probably should be paying estimated taxes. It doesn't matter whether the untaxed money comes from a job, investments, alimony or prizes you've won. If Uncle Sam doesn't get his share close to the time you received the money, you could end up owing not only taxes but also penalties and interest.10 Tips for Taxpayers
It's said the only constant in life is change, and that's definitely the case with taxes. That was made very clear during the tax debates associated with the "fiscal cliff." But all the tax-rate-increase and spending-cut chaos that accompanied fiscal cliff discussions is just part of the picture. Here are 10 tips for taxpayers in 2013.10 Midyear Tax Moves to Make Now
Summer's a great time to consider the tax breaks you can take when filing your return next year. A lot of people wait until December to start thinking about their tax bills. True, you can and should make some year-end moves by Dec. 31. But now, halfway through the tax year, is even better for tax planning.Beware These 5 Terrible Tax Surprises
The tax law is complex and difficult for even experts to negotiate. Just when you think you've followed all the rules and researched all the angles, a tax regulation blindsides you. Here are five terrible tax surprises that you might encounter during tax season and how to deal with the consequences.Filing Status Makes a Difference in Tax Bill
What's your tax filing status? It may sound like a simple question, but the correct answer could make a difference in your tax bill. There are five official choices, and the one you pick also determines whether you can take certain tax deductions or exemptions that could lower your final tax bill. In some cases, your status can even be the deciding factor in whether you have to file at all. So picking the right one when you file is crucial.Beware the Costly, Complicated AMT
Three letters, AMT, are striking tax fear in the hearts of more and more middle-class filers. These folks are simply trying to use the tax code, legally, to lower their annual Internal Revenue Service bills. They claim exemptions for eligible dependents, deduct the interest on their mortgage and associated equity loan, and write off the state income taxes they pay. Some of these tax breaks, however, will do them no good under the alternative minimum tax system.What To Do if You Don't Get Your W-2
You're still waiting for your W-2. You know you're getting a refund and you want to file your return, but it's something you can't do until you receive your annual wage statement. The Internal Revenue Service requires employers to get workers their earnings information by the end of each January, so allow a few days after the 31st for it to show up. But if your Form W-2 never arrives, you can create your own for tax-filing purposes.Internal Revenue Service Offers Tax Answers
If you have a question about your taxes, the Internal Revenue Service has answers. Here are ways to get your tax questions answered by the IRS via the telephone or the internet.
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- How to become a millionaire in 7 easy (hah!) steps
- 5 poor ways to save (and how to do better)
- 10 places to look for $500 in savings
- 9 savvy strategies to save for a rainy-day fund
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- Money-saving secrets of the rich and frugal
- How to stop credit card offers in the mail
- What to do when frugal fatigue sets in Readers' Solutions
- Putting last year's Christmas bills behind you
- Reduce your debt with this free debt course by The Dollar Stretcher
- Reduce your debt payoff time
- Find a better credit card rate
- Get better savings & MMA rates